Bankruptcy

Hell’s Kitchen Gentlemen’s Club and Lumber Yard file for bankruptcy



This may be the last dance for New York real estate magnate Robert Gans. The owner of 11 properties in the city, including Hell’s Kitchen’s Metropolitan wood and hardware and strip the joint Executive clubbankrupted a portfolio of its real estate holding companies amid a web of contentious lawsuits.

Robert Gans bankrupted a group of Hell’s Kitchen properties on 11th Avenue between W45/46th Street to suspend disputes with lenders. Photographic composite: Robert’s Steakhouse & BING.

Facing foreclosure by loanr Mack Real Estate GroupGans filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy after Mack alleged that he defaulted on $130 million loan and missed up to $6 million in payments last October.

The bankruptcy filing was inserted between an elaborate matrix of ongoing lawsuits by other lenders Extell Development and Eli Tabak’s Bluestone Group (which bought Gans’ debt from Mack in April) and a counterclaim by Gans alleging that the two lenders had engaged in a “conspiracy” to sell his properties under him through strategic stock purchases and foreclosures.

The Executive Club is one of the properties filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy by Robert Gans. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Brooklyn-born Gans began his career in the lumber business, opening five Metropolitan Lumber & Hardware locations before delving into the real estate and hospitality industries. As well as owning the Scores strip club in Chelsea (the inspiration for legendary article from New York Magazine– shot major film Hustlers), properties on the west side of Gans include a 57,700 square foot assembly on 11th Avenue between W45th and W46th Streets that includes Metropolitan Lumber and Hardware and the 10,000 square foot Executive Club (formerly known as the Penthouse Executive Club), an exotic two-story dance shop featuring multiple stages, a full-service steakhouse, and a hidden dining room for “discreet-seeking guests.”

While the Executive Club may not have the same patina of Hollywood notoriety as Scores, the nightclub has had its fair share of press over the years. In a 2007 New York Times restaurant review titled “Where only the salad is properly dressed”Franck Bruni review describe The “pleasure palace” steakhouse Robert’s offers “some of the best steaks in New York” and that “whatever your appetite for the sassy show accessorizing these steaks, you will be wowed by the quality of the meat served.” Gans agreed, commenting at the opening of a Robert’s in Las Vegas: “I think my taste is pretty good, regardless of the company.

Metropolitan Lumber & Hardware Yard on 11th Avenue. Photo: Phil O’Brien

The future Executive Club property, among Gans’ other properties, is one of many dizzying deals around Midtown’s ever-revolving real estate door. On 8th Avenue, the intersection between Times Square and Hell’s Kitchen proper, remnants of “Old Midtown” and the new spurt of Hudson Yards-style retail developments have come to a head as investors buy and transform some of the most notorious buildings on the thoroughfare. A notable example is 691 8th Avenue, once known as the Playpen porn multiplex, which was bought by property giants Tishman Realty for $117 million in 2007 and transformed into a gleaming 450,000 square feet housing the Intercontinental Times Square Hotel and the ground- level Shake Shack (by Crain’s).

Could the Executive Club become the next Midtown Equinox location? Will Metropolitan Lumber & Hardware transform into a luxury-slash-Sweetgreen skyscraper? Gans’ bankruptcy filings effectively suspended lawsuits from his lender, so there could still be steaks and striptease routines sizzling on 11th Avenue.

The Penthouse Executive Club billboard in 2014 – featuring Robert’s Steakhouse Photo: Phil O’Brien

W42ST has contacted Gans through a representative of Metropolitan Lumber and attorneys who have previously represented him for comment and will update if we have a response.